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Cablevision Petitions Supreme Court Over Labor Dispute

Cablevision is asking the U.S. Supreme Court for an emergency stay to halt the National Labor Relations Board's investigation of complaints that it has intimidated and spied on workers, illegally terminated 22 workers and bargained in bad faith.

The move comes after James Dolan's company struck out at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Friday.

Over the past year, Cablevision has been in the midst of a brutal public battle with the Communication Workers of America over pay for technicians and allegations of union-busting. In May, Cablevision sought the intervention of an appeals court to stay proceedings at the NLRB, and now, the company is hoping that the high court will take up the issue of the NLRB's authority.

In some ways, Cablevision is looking to glam onto National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning, a case that first raised the idea that the NLRB  “lacked authority to act for want of a quorum, as three members of the five-member Board were never validly appointed.”

The reason why those members weren't "validly appointed," in the court's opinion was that President Barack Obama made appointments to the NLRB during the Senate recess. As such, the appointments didn't require confirmation, but the exact nature of the Senate's recess has been subject to scrutiny.

When Cablevision filed an appeal, and urged the DC Circuit to stay the NLRB proceedings, it called the president's recess appointments "unconstitutional."

Still, that wasn't enough for the DC Circuit to grant Cablevision's requested stay. On Friday, the appeals court rejected the request to suspend NLRB proceedings.

Last week, the Canning case was granted review by the Supreme Court, and Cablevision also wishes to be part of the action.

In announcing that it is going to the Supreme Court, Cablevision commented, "The role of Congress is to ensure a balanced NLRB and the Obama Administration bypassed Congress in order to stack the NLRB in favor of Big Labor. Two different federal courts -- the D.C. Circuit and the Third Circuit -- have established that the NLRB is illegally constituted and has no authority to take action. The NLRB continues to ignore these rulings, and we ask the Supreme Court to compel the NLRB to immediately halt its unlawful proceedings against Cablevision."

The Communication Workers of America hasn't immediately issued a comment. Two weeks ago, the union launched an ad blitz in TV, newspaper and online ads that called Dolan "a “threat to workers everywhere” for attempting to undermine the nation’s labor board.

E-mail: Eriq.Gardner@THR.com
Twitter: @eriqgardner